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The distance from the last observation to the crash site was about 3 n.miles and my calculation of ZK-HNW being in that observation area was at 8.49am. Using the same ground speed as my calculation of 60 knots in this area (page 7 of this article), this places them at the crash site at 9.51am - within 1 minute of his last transmission.....

Interesting, seeing that I had based the original calculation, and that scenario of them flying into the valley towards Lake Adelaide, allowing Cam an opportunity to push the “Go To” function on the GPS to give him a 272°M to Milford. We know that this “magnetic heading” scenario is now not correct, and yet the time still works out very close.

This shows that he most likely did fly into that valley, and this does tend to be backed up by his first contact with Milford:

 

Tower:  Hotel November Whiskey, affirm, affirm I’m registering 4, go ahead.

HNW:  ……Adelaide, um, we’ve been caught in some cloud, um, coming through there getting out, um, I’ll need a hand to get back down and I’ll, I want your brief to help, um, overhead Milford ,via the, ah, Sound if possible.

 

Note the word “Adelaide”. This led everyone at the time to believe that he was in the Lake Adelaide area, and it appears that this was correct.

You’ll possibly also have noted that he said , “No, we’re still 9 miles out” ( previous page).  This was also a very strange thing to say as at no point had he told them previously that they were 9 miles out.  So this also tends to point that they were at some point closer to Milford for him to register in his mind that distance, and associate it with his current position. He must have considered to himself that he was flying on a radius for a period of time, of 9 miles out from Milford.

It will be interesting to see what his track actually was, - if they are able to get any information from the GPS that he was using.... if they find it.  I imagine it will be severely damaged though.

 

Having the privilege now of hindsight, you might ask that if we had managed to work out in the past what we now know, would they have been found sooner?

The answer is that it is still very unlikely.

The area that they were found in (and as stated previously) spends a lot of its time under snow, and the machine had disintegrated into very small pieces that made it very hard to see.  

Due to Cam using a GPS,  the “9 miles out” should have been a very accurate position, and hence you would have expected to have found him within anywhere up to 9 miles away from Milford...not at 11 miles! This made it even more difficult for the searchers.

 

You might also ask, “They have been found. Why analyse this any further?”

 

The answer is simple in that there is much to learn by working out where a person has gone wrong in the past, and then hopefully armed with that knowledge, others don’t make the same mistake....

 

What can be learnt from this:

 

1/ Pilots are made more aware of what can go wrong, and so become even more aware to never allow themselves to get into situations they can’t get out of.

 

2/ For searchers to broaden their horizons to these possibilities (generalisation of position reports when under pressure, ‘true’ versus ‘magnetic’ headings, etc.)

 

.... in the hope that taking this long to find a missing aircraft, never happens again!

 

***May Campbell and Hannah rest in peace***

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